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February 14, 2016

Mahamaham Festival begins at Kumbakonam in South India

Mahamaham festival begins at Kumbakonam in South India

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Sunday, February 14, 2016

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Mahamaham festival began on Saturday at Kumbakonam, a temple town of Tamil Nadu in South India, with a flag hoisting ceremony at six associated Shiva temples. Planners anticipate this Hindu festival, celebrated once in twelve years for ten days, could attract over four million devotees.

File photo of Mahamaham tank, 2010.
Image: Ssriram mt.

During this ten days festival ending on February 22, 2016 Hindus take a holy dip in the Mahamaham tank. Mahamaham tank has 20 wells.

The government of Tamil Nadu has made elaborate arrangements to ensure devotees safely take their holy dip in the tank. Special facilities have been arranged for comfortable transportation of people. Many ministers and government officials are camping at the holy town to ensure the comfort of people. Ten thousand police men are deployed to regulate the crowd. Many Hindu religious heads are now camping in this town.

The Indian Postal Department has also made arrangements to supply the packed holy water through post to any part of India. This festival is considered as South India’s Kumbh Mela. The previous Mahamaham was celebrated in 2004. The next festival is scheduled to be held in 2028. Twelve Shiva temples and six Vishnu temples of Kumbakonam are associated with this festival.



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March 17, 2012

Russian scholars call on Medvedev and Putin to defend Bhagavad Gita

Russian scholars call on Medvedev and Putin to defend Bhagavad Gita

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Saturday, March 17, 2012

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Twenty leading Russian scholars urged Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister, President-elect Vladimir Putin to step in and take the ongoing Bhagavad Gita trial in the Siberian city of Tomsk under “personal control”, saying it “discredits Russia’s cultural and democratic credentials in the eyes of the civilized world”.

Last December, the Tomsk court rejected state prosecutor’s indictment of the Bhagavad Gita As It Is, a commented translation of the ancient Hindu classic by the Hare Krishna founder Bhaktivedanta Swami, as an extremist text. However, in January the Tomsk prosecutor’s office filed an appeal, arguing the commentaries incite “social hatred” and “violence against non-believers” and must be banned as “extremist”. Tomsk region prosecutor Alexander Buksman publicly supported the appeal, saying that the proposed ban on the commentaries rather than on the Hindu text itself was justified, as “it’s important to discern gems form the chatter in this very case”. The appeal is scheduled for hearing on March 20.

In an open letter to the top Russian leaders, the group of eminent Russian scholars of philosophy, philology, and oriental studies strongly denounced the prosecutor’s attempt to dismiss Bhaktivedanta Swami’s commentaries as an extremist distortion of Bhagavad Gita itself, saying that these charges are “untrue and contrary to the traditions of Hinduism”.

“The book does not contain any signs of extremism and does not incite hatred on ethnic, religious or any other grounds. On the contrary, the book written in the commentary tradition of Bengali Vaishnavism, one of the most popular branches of Hinduism, is considered sacred by a section of believers”, the scholars emphasized, warning that the continued trial of the Hindu scripture in Russia is “driving a wedge in Russian-Indian relations.” Similar concerns were voiced earlier at an all-Russian conference at Tomsk State University titled Bhagavad Gita in history and modern society, where scholars expressed perplexity at the prosecutor’s move to declare a translation of the Hindu scripture extremist. Speaking at the conference, Irina Glushkova, chief researcher of the Indian Research Center at the Oriental Studies Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, stressed that “Bhagavad Gita As It Is has the right to exist as any other commentary or scripture. It is a fundamental principle of Hinduism and there is no any other Hinduism”.

The controversial court case on the Bhagavad Gita, an ancient text regarded sacred by millions of Hindus, had already caused political and societal turmoil in India, with the Indian Parliament stalled over the proposed ban and Hindu activists burning Russian flags. The trial also evoked strong criticism from the Russian, Indian, and international media.



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December 29, 2011

Russian court rejects move to ban Hindu scripture

Russian court rejects move to ban Hindu scripture

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Thursday, December 29, 2011

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Hare Krishnas protesting against the ban of their scripture outside the Russian Consulate in Kolkata, India. December 19, 2011.
Image: Cinosaur.

A judge in Tomsk, Russia drew a round of applause from the court room as she dismissed charges of extremism against the Bhagavad Gita As It Is, a Russian commented translation of the Bhagavad Gita published by the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. This decision put an end to the six-month-long trial of the book accused by the state prosecutors of fostering “social discord” and “incitement to religious hatred”.

The Indian Foreign Ministry, which had been urging Moscow to avert the possible ban they termed as “absurd”, welcomed the verdict calling it “a sensible resolution of a sensitive issue” which “demonstrates yet again that the people of India and Russia have a deep understanding of each other’s cultures and will always reject any attempt to belittle our common civilizational values” and thanked the Russian government for their support. Indian Ambassador to Russia Ajai Mahotra also stated that the court decision “deserves to be applauded”.

The controversial court case on the Bhagavad Gita, an ancient text regarded sacred by millions of Hindus, had threatened to become a stumbling block in traditionally strong Indo-Russian relations as it caused political and societal turmoil in India, with the Indian Parliament stalled over the proposed ban and Hindu activists burning Russian flags. The trial also evoked strong criticism from the international media.



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December 20, 2011

Indian Parliament irate as Russia poised to ban Bhagavad Gita

Indian Parliament irate as Russia poised to ban Bhagavad Gita

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

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Members of the Indian Parliament across party lines urged the Indian government to protect the Bhagavad Gita, one of the most sacred Hindu texts, from a legal ban in Russia.

Hindu followers rallied in front of the Kolkata Russian consulate protesting the ban. Thousands signed an on-line petition to stop the trial, and the hashtag #Gita surged to a leading trend in Indian cyberspace. Accused of fostering extremism and “social discord” by the Tomsk, Siberia state prosecutors office, Bhagavad Gita As It Is, a translation of the ancient poem admired by Leo Tolstoy and Albert Einstein, now faces the prospect of ending up on Russia’s Federal List of Extremist Materials – along with Hitler’s Mein Kampf – and being banned from distribution.

Reporting to the Parliament on the issue, External Affairs Minister S. M. Krishna Tuesday denounced the trial as a “patently absurd” action of “some ignorant and misdirected or motivated individuals” and assured the House that his Ministry has taken up the issue with senior Russian authorities, hoping for an appropriate resolution. S. M. Krishna also referred to the Gita as “one of the defining treatises of Indian thought” saying that it “describes the very soul of our great civilization”.

On a similar note, Russian Ambassador to India Alexandr Kadakin condemned the court case as “categorically inadmissible” and called its instigators “madmen”.

The court’s ruling on the matter is expected on December 28.



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November 24, 2009

Ritual sacrifice in Nepal sees 320,000 animals slaughtered to Hindu goddess

Ritual sacrifice in Nepal sees 320,000 animals slaughtered to Hindu goddess

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

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Approximately 81% of Nepal practices Hinduism.

In a tribute to Gadhimai, a Hindu goddess of power, a Nepalese festival began today with the mass sacrifice of 20,000 buffalo in the village of Bariyapur. Shortly after, 300,000 birds, sheep and goats were similarly ritually slaughtered.

It is estimated as many as 750,000 people travelled from India, which recently banned similar mass-sacrifices, to make up the majority of the festival’s estimated one million attendees. Member of Parliament Shiv Chandra Kushwaha skipped Tuesday’s legislative meeting, saying that the festival had more importance as a religious celebration.

Although animal rights groups have condemned the ceremony as cruel, the Nepalese government has ignored requests to cancel the festival, held once every five years. Last year, the government banned a similar slaughter during the festival of Yanya Punhi, and was greeted with angry protests.

The meat is taken to local villages, who host large feasts for those in attendance, as it is believed to ward off evil.



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August 17, 2009

2009 Shri Shyam Bhajan Hindu religious festival held in Hyderabad

Filed under: Andhra Pradesh,Asia,Hinduism,India,Original reporting — admin @ 5:00 am

Monday, August 17, 2009

Nanduji presenting the bhajan to Baba Shyam

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The Shri Shyam Bhajan, a Hindu religious festival, was organised on August 15th in Hyderabad, India. This was the city’s annual function, which was coincidentally celebrated a day after Krishna Janmashtami, and on the occasion of Independence Day at the Nampally Exhibition Ground.

About 125,000 lamps were lit along the campus boundaries as evening fell. About 25,000 people participated at the event, and the program was broadcast live on Aastha TV.

Baba Shyam’s Durbar, the arena where idols of deity are situated, was very well-decorated. Four alternative colors, green, yellow, pink and blue were used to lighten up the shringar.

The program started at 8:30 p.m. local time (15.00 UTC). Famous singers across the country presented bhajans, or devotional songs, to Shri Shyam’s feet. Singer Sanju Sharma started the evening, followed by Jai Shankar Choudhary. Then, Lakkha Singh took the lead in singing the bhajans. 108 plates of Chhappan Bhog (in Hinduism, 56 different edible items, like, sweets, fruits, nuts, dishes etc. which are offered to deity) were served to Baba Shyam. Lakkha Singh presented the chhappan bhog bhajan as well. Singer, Raju Khandelwal was accompanying him.

Baba Shyam’s great devotee-cum-singer Nanduji came to present several of his creations to Shri Shyam. He was feeling tired, after having two long bhajan sessions — each three hours long — at different locations within the past day. 62-year old Nanduji has continuously served Baba Shyam for last 26 years.

The program was completed by Miss Arora, followed by Sanjay Mittal and Sanjay Kapoor. All singers were honoured with dupatta — a sacred piece of cloth worn across both shoulders — at the start of their performances, and a photo frame of Shri Krishna, as a memento at the end of their performances. Then, Baba’s aarti (a special song sung in praise of the deity) was performed as the closing ceremony.


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This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.


This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

2009 Shri Shyam Bhajan Hindu religious festival held in Hyderabad

Filed under: Andhra Pradesh,Archived,Asia,Hinduism,India,Original reporting — admin @ 5:00 am

Monday, August 17, 2009

Nanduji presenting the bhajan to Baba Shyam

Other stories from India
Location of India

A map showing the location of India

To write, edit, start or view other articles on India, see the India Portal

The Shri Shyam Bhajan, a Hindu religious festival, was organised on August 15th in Hyderabad, India. This was the city’s annual function, which was coincidentally celebrated a day after Krishna Janmashtami, and on the occasion of Independence Day at the Nampally Exhibition Ground.

About 125,000 lamps were lit along the campus boundaries as evening fell. About 25,000 people participated at the event, and the program was broadcast live on Aastha TV.

Baba Shyam’s Durbar, the arena where idols of deity are situated, was very well-decorated. Four alternative colors, green, yellow, pink and blue were used to lighten up the shringar.

The program started at 8:30 p.m. local time (15.00 UTC). Famous singers across the country presented bhajans, or devotional songs, to Shri Shyam’s feet. Singer Sanju Sharma started the evening, followed by Jai Shankar Choudhary. Then, Lakkha Singh took the lead in singing the bhajans. 108 plates of Chhappan Bhog (in Hinduism, 56 different edible items, like, sweets, fruits, nuts, dishes etc. which are offered to deity) were served to Baba Shyam. Lakkha Singh presented the chhappan bhog bhajan as well. Singer, Raju Khandelwal was accompanying him.

Baba Shyam’s great devotee-cum-singer Nanduji came to present several of his creations to Shri Shyam. He was feeling tired, after having two long bhajan sessions — each three hours long — at different locations within the past day. 62-year old Nanduji has continuously served Baba Shyam for last 26 years.

The program was completed by Miss Arora, followed by Sanjay Mittal and Sanjay Kapoor. All singers were honoured with dupatta — a sacred piece of cloth worn across both shoulders — at the start of their performances, and a photo frame of Shri Krishna, as a memento at the end of their performances. Then, Baba’s aarti (a special song sung in praise of the deity) was performed as the closing ceremony.


Sources

Wikinews
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.



This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

August 16, 2009

2009 Shri Shyam Bhajan Amritvarsha Hyderabad

Filed under: Andhra Pradesh,Hinduism,India,Original reporting — admin @ 5:00 am

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Nanduji presenting the bhajan to Baba Shyam

In Hyderabad, Shri Shyam Bhajan evening is organised on August 15th, 2009. This is the annual function in Hyderabad, which is celebrated day after Krishna Janmashtami and on the occasion of Independence day in Nampally Exhibition Ground, Hyderabad.

About 125,000 lamps are lightened up along campus boundaries on this evening. Program was live telecasted on Aastha TV. About 25,000 people get a chance to participate in the evening.

Baba Shyam’s Durbar was very well-decorated. Four alternative colors, green, yellow, red and blue were used to lighten up the shringar.

Program started at 8:30 p.m. local time (1500 hrs UTC). Very well-known singers across the country presented bhajans to Shri Shyam’s feet. Sanju Sharma, singer started the evening, followed by Jai Shankar Choudhary. Then, Lakkha Singh took the charge of singing bhajans. 108 plates of Chhappan Bhog are served to Baba Shyam. Lakkha Singh presented the chhappan bhog bhajan as well. Singer, Raju Khandelwal was accompaying him.

Baba Shyam’s great devotee-cum-singer Nanduji came to present few of his creations to Shri Shyam. He was feeling tired, after having two long bhajan sessions of three hours each within 24 hours. 62-years old Nanduji has been continuously serving Baba Shyam for last 26 continuous years.

Program was competed by Miss Arora, followed by Sanjay Mittal and Sanjay Kapoor. Then, Baba’s aarti was performed as closing ceremony.


Sources

Original Reporting

This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

October 1, 2008

Nepal names 6 year old girl a \’living goddess\’

Filed under: Archived,Hinduism,Nepal,Religion — admin @ 5:00 am

Nepal names 6 year old girl a ‘living goddess’

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Wednesday, October 1, 2008

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Nepal’s government has named Shreeya Bajracharya, a six year old, as the country’s new Kumari or “living goddess”, as part of a century old tradition.

In the past, Kumaris have been appointed by the country’s monarchy, which was abolished earlier this year and replaced with the recently elected Maoists. “Just because we are now a republic and no longer have a king or royal priest, does not mean we should end our traditions,” said Keshab Bahadur Shrestha, one of the officials who selected Shreeya.

The new Maoist government was heavily criticized and protested last week after attempting to cut funds to the “Royal Kumari” festival. Up until last month’s court decision ruled it a violation of human rights, the Kumaris were isolated in palaces and kept away from the public.

The girls are revered as reincarnations of the Hindu goddess Taleju and are both tourist and religious attractions until they have their first menstruation, when they are no longer considered goddesses. They are chosen through 32 strict tests of physical attributes, requiring traits like “cow’s eyelashes”.

Shreeya, a farmer’s daughter, said she wants to be a nurse someday. Admirers have praised her for being “pretty and smart”.

Her predecessor resigned due to controversy over her break from tradition, when she traveled to the US to promote a film about herself and Kumaris.

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June 4, 2008

Indian \’guru\’ faces charges of fraud, drugs and rape

Indian ‘guru’ faces charges of fraud, drugs and rape

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Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Crime and law
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A spiritual guru known as “Swami Amritachaitanya” is being held in Kerala, India on charges of fraud, rape and possession of narcotic drugs. Swami Amritachaitanya, whose real name is Santosh Madhavan, was arrested by Interpol in March on criminal charges in a police raid at his 16-suite ashram in Kochi, India following multiple police complaints against him. Indians living in Bahrain have recently come forward and filed a case against Madhavan in India on allegations of fraudulent practices related to his supposed charity activities.

Kochi, India
Image: Boby George.

Twenty Indians living in Bahrain filed a case against 35-year old Madhavan on Tuesday. They claim they were victims of a scam after Madhavan convinced them to invest in a charitable organization and tourist resort, but allegedly kept the money for himself. Madhavan arrived in Bahrain in 2005.

Cquote1.svg He was very convincing about his charity activities as well as the resort. Cquote2.svg

—Jaya Kumar

“Twenty of us have e-mailed a complaint to the Inspector General and Commissioner of Ernakulam police as well as Kerala Home Minister,” said complainant Jaya Kumar in a statement to the Gulf Daily News. Ernakulam is a district in the state of Kerala in India. “He was very convincing about his charity activities as well as the resort,” said Kumar, a purchasing officer at a company in Bahrain.

Police began an investigation into Madhavan in April after a woman filed a complaint alleging he had promised to start a business with her after a meeting in Dubai, but she said he disappeared after she gave him the money. Serafin Edwin traveled to the capital of Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram, last week from her residence in Dubai, in order to give testimony against Madhavan. She was greeted at the international airport by police, and is under police protection due to concerns for her safety. Her family members told Khaleej Times that she feared physical harm from Madhavan or his henchmen. Interpol has been investigating Madhavan in allegations related to his business dealings with Serafin Edwin since 2004. “I am happy that the police finally caught up with him and he is in prison. He is a big fraud and everything that comes out of his mouth is a lie,” said Serafin Edwin in a statement to the United Arab Emirates paper The National.

Madhavan was arrested by Interpol police after multiple underage girls went to law enforcement with allegations of rape and sexual abuse. According to Press Trust of India, police in India received complaints from three underage girls alleging he had raped them. The Times reported that Madhavan is accused of making pornographic movies with underage girls, sexual assault, rape, fraud and possession of narcotics. A police raid of Madhavan’s four-story mansion in India uncovered drugs, a police uniform, a pelt from an endangered tiger and pornographic DVDs. Gulf Daily News reported that Madhavan was arrested in Kerala in conjunction with an Interpol “red alert”, which was issued after consultation with Dubai police in 2004.

Cquote1.svg We are not against genuine spiritual leaders. But we won’t allow illegal activities under the guise of spirituality. Cquote2.svg

—Kodiyeri Balakrishnan

Self styled “godmen” and “gurus” are under increased observation by police in India following the arrest of Madhavan, and police are specifically investigating their sources of wealth and possible fraud. “We are not against genuine spiritual leaders. But we won’t allow illegal activities under the guise of spirituality,” said Kerala home minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan in a statement to Howrah News Service.

G. Sudhakaran, Kerala’s minister for temples, presented a different viewpoint in a statement to The Times. “They’re conducting all kinds of criminal and material activities behind their spiritual exteriors. Ninety per cent of them are fake and criminals. There are so many swamis who have enlightened the hearts and minds of people, but these people are fakes with no idea about spirituality. They are only interested in women and money and muscle power,” said Sudhakaran. Many Hindus were upset by Sudhakaran’s words, as some devout Hindus consider swamis to be above the law and should not be criticized.



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